Milwaukee Democrats propose cash bail alternative

NOW: Milwaukee Democrats propose cash bail alternative

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A pair of Milwaukee Democrats are offering an alternative solution to reform the cash bail system. Thursday, March 16, state Senator Chris Larson and state Rep. Ryan Clancy proposed moving away from cash bail and toward a risk-assessment model. 

It's used in states like New Jersey, which determines someone's bail by calculating their risk of reoffending. 

Democrats say this would create a more fair criminal justice system instead of court officials setting bail amounts some can pay and others cannot. 

"If we want to have a serious conversation about public safety we have to stop assuming that means locking everyone up when the data says the opposite and we have to couch our solutions in this both I data and lived experiences of impacted folks," said State Rep. Ryan Clancy.

The Democratic proposal comes as voters will decide on April 4 whether to enact a GOP-authored bail amendment. If approved by voters, judges could consider more factors when setting bail such as how dangerous a defendant might be to the public. 

The Republican bill is scheduled for an Assembly vote Wednesday. It must also pass the Senate and be approved by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to take effect.

State Sen. Van Wanggaard released the following statement: 

“Democrats unveiled talking points today. There’s no bill, there’s no proposal, there’s not even a press release. The fact of the matter is what they’re talking about today can be done and IS ALREADY DONE under current law.

The Democrats’ press conference was just a cynical attempt to pretend they want bail reform. The truth is the only bail reform Democrats want is to eliminate cash bail.

If the people of Wisconsin want TRUE bail reform, they should vote for both questions on the April 4th ballot.”
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